The story definitely gripped me from the get go, and the voice of Bobby is raw and oh-so-real. I only wish that it had not been so “realistic,” that the creature of the night (which turns out to be Bobby in a sense when he realized how dark his life has been) – the Little Woman/Badger – features more prominently and the slightly creepy, surreal mood is maintained throughout the book. The long stretches Bobby’s work habits and his finding his way into PJ Dooley’s life are essential to the character development but it definitely slows down the momentum and almost feels like too much light and too light in a dark and heavy story.
Eventually, this is a realistic fiction, a coming-of-age story, a hopeful tale (with its feel-good epilogue,) and an intimate look at a troubled teen’s life. It shows a boy who battles with his inner demon, like a boxing match — He’s Down, the Demon’s Down, oh, no, He’s Down again.. he gets up… and the Demon strikes back… … … and yet.. we never got that really satisfying FINAL *POW* PUNCH. It is so real-life that it does not have enough dramatic force toward the end.
I might have been happy to NOT have that Epilogue — to keep myself guessing and thinking hard about his potential future(s).